LA Angels Spring Training Recap: Angels 6, White Sox 6

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Kaleb Cowart #22 of the Los Angeles Angels reacts after he hit a triple that scored a run in the eighth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on September 18, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Kaleb Cowart #22 of the Los Angeles Angels reacts after he hit a triple that scored a run in the eighth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on September 18, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The Angels finished the Spring contest against the White Sox in a 6-6 tie after leading most of the game 6-2. The Angels were able to jump out to a big early lead by the 4th inning but saw it fall to a tie by the 7th inning. Despite the offensive explosions there was some pitching difficulty that allowed the White Sox to bring the game to an eventual tie.

Kaleb Cowart is letting the LA Angels know he’s back in a big way. After being picked back up by the Angels just last week Cowart is showing the organization why they should be keeping him around come Opening Day. He threw a bullpen session this past Saturday and was noted to be sitting at 92-94mph with his fastball and today he flashed his bat with a big-time grand slam in the 4th inning.

Cowart has had a rough time with the Angels in past seasons, especially offensively, but if the Angels can find a way to work value out of him as a two way player he could find himself providing more for this team than ever before.

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All of the Angels runs today came off home runs, the first being Jarrett Parkers 2 run bomb in the 2nd inning and the other home run being Cowarts grand slam in the 4th. Parker was brought onto the team as a reserve option/reclamation project and if this Spring is anything to go on so far there is a serious resurgence happening for Parker. Is it simply Spring time stats or did Eppler strike gold by bringing Parker into the organization with his attempt to set his career back in order?

The Angels are currently leading all teams in Spring Training with 88 runs scored across 10 games (7-3-1 record). They are currently tied for 3rd in runs allowed with 71 runs allowed.

Angels 6, White Sox 6

Angels Starting Pitcher: Trevor Cahill (RHP): 3.2 IP, 4 Hits, 2 Runs, 3 K’s

White Sox Starting Pitcher: Reynaldo Lopez (RHP): 3.1 IP, 4 Hits, 4 Runs, 2 Walks, 4 K’s, 1 HR

The Angels sent Trevor Cahill to the mound in this contest and saw him turn in the best outing of any Angels starter this Spring. That’s not to say that the other starters have put up sub-par starts, but with Cahill throwing only 45 pitches in 3.2 IP (with 3 K’s) we’re seeing much needed efficiency out of a lower-end talent.

It’s a bit unfair to call Cahill a lower-end talent given his successful 2018 season of 110 IP with a 3.76 ERA, yet on this squad his job is to anchor the lower end of the Angels rotation. With the state of this team in recent years you could argue that bottom-end rotational anchors are the most important position to fill for the club.

The Angels have had big time struggles with their starting pitching in recent years, namely the bottom-end of the staff. Last year the Angels really only had Andrew Heaney and Tyler Skaggs to rely on (thanks to a rash of injuries) and after that it was a bit of a toss-up between trying out Minor Leaguers and plugging in journeymen to hold down the fort.

Of course that didn’t go well for the Angels at all, but they’ve taken to fixing this issue by bringing in strong talents like Cahill and Matt Harvey to man the bottom-end of the starting rotation.

There is a lot of hope with the Angels starting pitching coming into this season. With guys like Felix Pena showing off a new sense of dominance and Trevor Cahill looking like he can provide quality, efficent innings, there might be a big light at the end of the tunnel for the 2019 Angels.

Of course the pitching wasn’t all pretty. Angels top pitching prospect Griffin Canning, an ace in the making, had a rough appearance out of the bullpen. No one is expecting him to show up in a big way this Spring or compete for a job, this is simply a learning experience for the 22 year old future rotation anchor.

Canning allowed three runs, one coming off a solo home run, with a walk and strikeout in 1.1 IP. It’s not pretty, but this is the kind of experience you need as a developing prospect in order to understand what you can do better and what you shouldn’t be doing. The development process isn’t always easy to watch, but games like this are necessary in every prospects road to MLB-dom.

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Stand-out Performers

Kaleb Cowart returned to his original organization in style with a big grand slam that put most of the Angels runs of the day on the board. The Angels picked Cowart off waivers from the Tigers about a week ago with the intention of trying him out as a two-way player after being picked up by the Mariners off waivers back in December of 2018.

Cowart hasn’t always shown the most offensive prowess, but with this grand slam he’s showing that his bat is still a viable option in an MLB lineup. Cowart has always been a solid defender off the bench, but if he can provide offensive value in tandem with solid pitching we will be seeing him more than expected this season.

Jarrett Parker is really amped up about revitalizing his career. There are a lot of reserve options for the outfield this Spring Training and Parker seems to be heading up that list. At first he came into Spring as a depth option with some hope for revitalizing his career, but now the story has changed.

There’s a very real chance that Parker will make the Opening Day squad if this offensive tear keeps up. He posted 2 RBI’s off a home run in this contest, but that wasn’t all he did. He came away with another hit as well as a walk while also scoring 2 runs.

Parker is constantly putting himself in a position to bring both personal success and team success and it seems that manager Brad Ausmus is taking serious note of that. It’s too early to call this a full-on resurgence, but at the same time this is as good of a start as you’ll get.

Jared Walsh got it done today, but not with the bat as you’d expect. Walsh showed off serious two-way ability by pitching a perfect 9th inning. His stuff off the mound looks better than anyone expected, his fastballs are sharp and effective and he wastes little time in toying with the strike-zone.

There’s still some control that needs to be solidified, but what we’ve seen so far is definitely bullpen material. There’s a distinct sense of aggression and ability on the mound, and when you evaluate those factors hand-in-hand with his efficiency you have the formula for an effective reliever.

Next. How the Angels and Jared Walsh are changing the MLB

To be able to say that an offensively talented 29 HR hitter (across the 2018 MiLB season) is also gearing up to also provide legitimate value out of the ‘pen offers a well of confidence and optimism regarding the potential success of the Angels 2019 season.

Ty Buttrey was a Top Prospect for the Red Sox before being traded to the Angels in 2018, though despite his Top Prospect status he never got a shot with the Red Sox. He was knocking on the MLB door for the Sox but it was the Angels who gave him the chance to prove himself as a valuable piece of an MLB bullpen.

There’s a distinct fire coming from Buttrey, a fire to prove his worth and you can see it in how he carries himself on the mound. Today he pitched an inning of work and collected a strikeout while throwing up to speeds of 98mph. That’s exactly the kind of stuff the Angels need in their 2019 bullpen and it seems like Buttrey is intent on bringing that to the staff.